I base stories in a range of periods - Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian (lots of Victorian), the world wars. The current project is set in the 1970s. It helps that I'm a history grad and have always loved the subject. I've watched a lot of docs, read a lot of books round these periods and am fascinated by the day to day lives of folk, what they ate, how they washed their clothes etc. I like the research 😀
Upon further reflection... I'd really love to write (and read) fiction set in prehistoric times, but obviously the research here is trickier! My favourite historical novel is The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone, which is set during the Mesolithic period. I have dreams of something vaguely comparable set around a post-Ice Age lake near where I live now- the shoreline is still visible now, with the contrasting peat and sandy soil. I find that so extraordinary that I'd love to write about it somehow.
Currently the 5th century, with its populace of Celts, Romans, Romano-Brits, Picts and - a bit later - Saxons. I've always been fascinated by this period - not so much the Arthurian legend in itself, however magical it is, because so much has been said and written about it already - I'm more interested in the neglected bits, and in looking for whatever history might underlie the legends which later authors took up and romanticised. The story I'm working on begins just after the Romans bailed out, and precedes the time when Arthur lived (or didn't live, depending on your point of view!) The first chunk is complete, ready to go I hope, and I'm cracking on with the rest. Beyond all this, I'm mainly interested in anything up to and including the medieval period - no shortage of ideas there!
I didn't really consider myself a historical fiction writer, but in hindsight my first novel is historical as was partly set in the 1960s, in Soho and Camberwell. I'm now writing another, more obviously 'historical' novel set in late Victorian/early Edwardian West London, about a working class woman with a secret that threatens to scupper the life she has built for herself and the family she has always wanted.